Co-owner of Geismar syn-fuels plant weighing ‘alternatives’

Alternatives could include sale of assets

“The market has changed. Tyson doesn’t need Syntroleum.” Robert Wagner, analyst

Syntroleum Corp., which owns half of a synthetic fuels refinery in Geismar, is evaluating “strategic alternatives” to enhance shareholder value related to the company’s renewable and natural gas-to-liquids businesses.

The Tulsa, Okla.-based company owns a process for converting synthesis gas into liquid hydrocarbons as well as other syn-fuels processes. The company owns half of Dynamic Fuels LLC, a renewable fuels plant that can produce up to 75 million gallons per year. The plant converts animal fats into fuel. But the project has been hampered by delays and higher-than-expected costs.

Production at the plant stopped in late 2012 while the partners installed a new catalyst, which was expected to increase diesel yields. The cost to start up the plant is estimated at $20 million, half of which is Syntroleum’s responsibility. The company has said it expected to restart the plant in mid- to late-July.

A company spokesman declined Thursday to comment on whether the plant has been restarted.

Syntroleum has hired Piper Jaffray & Co. as advisers in reviewing its “strategic alternatives.” Syntroleum doesn’t plan to update shareholders on the progress of those evaluations until its board of directors approves a transaction or decides it’s appropriate.